Do institutional of foreign shareholders influence national board diversity?Assessing board diversity through functional data analysis

Maturo Fabrizio, Migliori Stefania, Paolone Fabrizio

This study analyses the external antecedents of board diversity. We use the resource-based view and the agency theory to investigate the impact of institutional and foreign shareholders on national board diversity. Because we highlight that the most used diversity indices neglect the multidimensional aspect of diversity, we refer to diversity profiles and suggest the functional data analysis approach for diversity assessment in corporate governance studies. Specifically, we use the parametric functional analysis of variance in analysing the influence exerted by institutional and foreign shareholders on national board diversity. Focusing on a sample of 1,230 Italian medium-large firms, our results show that institutional shareholders do not influence national board diversity, while foreign shareholders strongly affect it, especially when they hold more than 50% of shares. Thus, we address the research gap on the determinants of national board diversity and enrich comparative European research on this topic.

Key-Words: Governance e controlli interni, corporate governance, diversity profiles, foreign shareholders, functional data analysis, institutional shareholders, national board diversity